A woman who used to spend £50 a week on chicken bakes and cookies says that she’s lost 9st after finally cracking her addiction to Greggs.
Jackie Smithers, from Welwyn in Hertfordshire, ditched her calorific habit after weighing in at 19 stone.
‘I must have been consuming 2,000 calories in just one sitting but I couldn’t help myself,’ she says.
She says that she finally realised that her eating had gotten out of control when she started going to the shops with a coat over her pyjamas.
‘Now I cringe whenever I see a Greggs store,’ she says.
Jackie has been overweight since childhood and by the time she was 16, she weighed over 14 stone.
On leaving school, she took a gap year to Chile where she hoped she’d get some control over her weight.
‘I was supposed to having the best year of my life,’ she says.
‘But instead of enjoying myself and making the most of the beautiful scenery, I was struggling to go on short hikes.
‘I got out of breath at the slightest incline, and regularly failed to keep up with the rest of the group.
‘Instead of becoming fit and healthy like I had hoped, I ended up turning to food for comfort.’
When she returned to start a history and politics degree at he University of York, things didn’t improve.
Lunch: Two Greggs chicken bakes, three sugary cakes and cookies – washed down with a bottle of diet coke
Dinner: Big portion of pesto pasta
Snacks: Sharing size bag of Doritos with sour cream and chive dip, and a large chocolate bar
She says that she tried diets like Slimming World but couldn’t stick with them long enough to notice any positive changes.
Eventually Jackie went into teaching but was soon signed off with depression. In 2011, she resigned.
‘It was then that my eating habits got out of control,’ she says.
‘I was living on my own and I turned to food to make myself feel better. Every day for six weeks, I visited Greggs for lunch, which was just a five minute walk from my house.’
Every lunchtime, she’d buy two chicken bakes, cookies, cakes and a diet coke.
Jackie estimates that she was consuming over 4,000 calories a day – which lead to her weighing 19st 7lbs.
It was only when she moved back in with her parents that she finally decided to nail the habit.
‘I knew I had put on weight during those months, but I wasn’t prepared for the shock I got when I stepped on the scales
‘I felt horrendous, but it was the wake-up call I needed.’
She vowed to never step foot in a Greggs again, and started cooking healthy meals at home.
Breakfast: Two small slices of wholemeal bread with two fried eggs, courgette and tomatoes.
Lunch: Cooked chicken with salad.
Dinner: Spaghetti bolognese with vegetables.
Snacks: Fruit and nuts.
By May 2016, Jackie – who’s now a size 10 – had reached her goal of 10st 7lbs.
And she’s even returned to Chile.
‘This time, my confidence is at an all-time high. I’m ready to make up for all the missed opportunities.
‘My days of gorging on Greggs are well and truly over.’